Wichita Falls is said to have gained its name from the Wichita Indians back in the 1700s. As they migrated towards the Red River area, they came across a big river and sent one of their people out into the water to test how deep it went. The reply came back, “Wee Chi Tah”, which means “Waist Deep” — and the name stuck.
The city of Wichita Falls itself was established in 1992. When the construction Ft. Worth & Denver railroad was completed, with service through the city, the seemingly random group of small towns swiftly transformed into a thriving center for business. While the city’s first few years were primarily funded through farming and ranching, it eventually boomed and blossomed thanks to the discovery of oil and manufacturing companies.
Today, despite several devastating natural disasters, Wichita Falls is one of the most well established cities located in the north of Texas.
Wichita Falls Electricity Providers
In 2002, Texas required many of its utilities to open up the electricity market to competition. To achieve this, it meant that the utilities needed to split up their business activities and allow Retail Energy Suppliers (REPs) to sell products and services related to the supply of energy.
This new deregulated energy market provided the relief many consumers were waiting for because it helped to lower electricity rates. The main reason why a deregulated energy market will reduce or lower the cost of energy has to do with the fact that it increases competition. When you have many REPs competing for business, they need to make sure their products and services appeal to their customers. If they don’t, their customers have the freedom to find what they’re looking for elsewhere.
Businesses and residents in Wichita Falls have the option to choose their REP and can switch to a different REP at any time. There are many REPs that provide supply services to the city of Wichita Falls including,
- Our Energy
- Infuse Energy
- Volt EP
- 4Change Energy
- Gexa Energy
- Pennywise Power
- Green Mountain Energy
- Discount Power
- Infinite Energy
- Veteran Energy
- StarTex Power
- Power Express
- Source Power & Gas
Wichita Falls Energy Industry
Oil was discovered in Burkburnett, Texas in 1918. Only a 20 minute drive away, Wichita Falls benefited from this discovery as the search for oil caused businesses and other small towns to immediately form or set up shop. Large companies such as, Texaco, Gulf, and Mobile Oil can credit their early beginnings to the oil found in this area.
Today, there are still many oil and gas companies based out of Wichita Falls. Some of these companies include,
- 3-T Exploration Inc.
- 3 T Warehouse Inc.
- Abb Oil Co.
- Anderson Oil & Gas Co.
- Armor Petroleum Inc.
- Aztec Oil and Gas
- Aztel Operating Inc.
- Bridwell Oil Company
- Kadane Oil Co.
- Limestone Oil & Gas Co.
- Medders Oil Co.
- T-N-T Engineering Inc.
- W L Lindemann Drilling Co.
Other Major Industries in Wichita Falls
While energy makes up an important part of Wichita Fall’s economy, there are several other industries that help to generate work and jobs throughout the community. These industries include,
Aviation – The first man to fly across the English Channel, Louis Bleriot visited Wichita Falls around 1911 along with many other pilots including Amelia Earhart and Frank Hawk. During the First World War, the city opened Call Field, one of the only Army Air Corps training camps in the United States. Prior to the Second World War, Wichita Falls opened Sheppard Field (named after Senator Morris Sheppard), which was used for aviation training until it shut down around 1945. The facility was reopened a few years later under a new name Sheppard Air Force Base, which is still operational today.
Manufacturing – In the 1950’s, the city had 741 retail stores, 127 wholesale outlet and over 100 manufacturing factories. Currently, the city is home to many manufacturing companies including, PPG, Pratt Whitney, Work Services Corp, Alcoa (Howmet), and Cryovac.
The top employers in Wichita Falls include,
- Sheppard Airforce Base
- Wichita Falls Independent School District
- North State Texas Hospital
- City of Wichita Falls
- Howmet Castings
Quick Wichita Falls Stats
Wichita Falls is the main city within the Wichita Falls Metropolitan Area. This area of Texas is made up of several other counties including, Clay and Archer. Other key demographics for Wichita Falls include,
Total Population (2014): 104,710
Land Area: 181.6 kilometers squared
Number of Households (2010): 37,970
Median Household Income (2013): $42,129
Median Age: 32.6
Cost of Living (2016): 83.6 (U.S. average is 100)
As of 2016, Wichita Falls was ranked as the 35th most populated city in the state of Texas. Houston takes the number one spot with a population of 2,296,224.
Did You Know?
Wichita Falls has a thriving sports and outdoor community, with theatres that were build in the early 1900s that are still in use today! Other facts of note include,
- The world’s smallest skyscraper was built in this city in the 1920’s. There are several stories or myths surrounding its origin. The truth is that it was built by a con man who raised $400,000 from investors who thought they were paying for a 40 storey building. If only the investors had read the contract’s fine print, they would have discovered that they were really paying for square inches instead of feet!
- Two major tornadoes have hit the area. The first, classified as an F5, hit in 1964, causing $15 million in damage. The second tornado hit Wichita Falls in 1979. This tornado was classified as an F5 and caused a whopping $400 million in damage.
- Rumor has it that the original land area that made up Wichita Falls was won in a poker game.
Wichita Falls Major Utilities
While it is possible for residents and businesses in Wichita Falls to select their retail provider, utilities remain responsible for the delivery of electricity. They are also in charge of maintaining poles and wires, which includes handling energy emergencies such as, damaged caused by severe weather or downed poles.
Wichita Falls has two utilities that handle these types of service. These two utilities include,
Oncor (North) – 1 888-313-4747
Texas-New Mexico Power (North) – 1 888-866-7456